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Monday, November 03, 2008

Theory #45: Readerly Theories: Authors Behaving Badly

It's Smart Bitches Day!

You've seen the stories: author J was rude at a signing; author M got mad at a bad review; author B made disrespectful comments on a blog; author G got a bunch of her friends to write her glowing reviews on Amazon; while author S got Amazon to remove negative reviews. Or perhaps you've experienced an Author Behaving Badly firsthand.

Such accounts are generally accompanied by vows to never buy said author's books, followed by angry rebuttals from rabid fans, and eventually result in... a spike in sales. Heh.

I've got to say, I really don't care.

I'm not going to quit reading an author's books because they do something stupid, wrong, or nasty. Nor am I going to be overcome by sympathy for the mess they've found themselves in and seek out their books.

Does that mean I don't mind if an author is rude to me? It's happened, and no, I don't like it--but the example I'm thinking of wasn't an author I was planning on reading more from anyway.

Does it mean that I think it's okay for authors to criticize readers or make asses of themselves? I figure everyone's got the right to be an idiot if they want to be. Why should authors be any different?

Authors make their living from readers buying their books, so it might be unwise of them to alienate readers, but heck--they don't have a monopoly on it a lack of wisdom.

This is the thing: I buy a book because I want to read it, not because I want to be BFF with the author. If I stop buying an author's books, it's because I don't like the books themselves anymore. It's about the books, period.

Sure, it makes me happy if an author whose books I adore turns out to be a nice person, too, but it's not a requirement. And there are several cases where I've bought a book because the author was friendly and entertaining on her blog--though I'm not sure that counts, since blogging is, after all, writing, and I could argue that an entertaining blog makes it reasonable to assume the books would be entertaining, too.

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